Internships are more than just filler for your résumé.
As an intern, you’re gaining valuable experience and getting your foot in the door of a company or industry. But if you’re not adequately prepared, it can be easy to waste the opportunity.
If you’re preparing to embark on an internship this summer or next semester, keep these 5 tips in mind to make your experience valuable.
While you shouldn’t be afraid to ask relevant questions throughout your internship, your supervisors may not always have time to explain everything. If a term or project that you’re not familiar with is referenced in the middle of a meeting, make a note of it and ask a coworker or look it up on your own. It’s also a good idea to subscribe to relevant online magazines or journals so that you stay on top of what’s going on within the industry.
Take Notes (Literally)
As an intern, you’ll be given lots of different tasks and projects, and it’s important to keep track of all of them. Buy yourself a small notebook or notepad to keep on hand at your desk and carry to all meetings and one-on-ones. But don’t just take notes on deadlines or assignments. Also include new things you learn, ideas to research and even which projects you enjoyed the most, so that when you look back on your experience, your notes include more than just your daily to do list.
Dress the Part
Part of being taken seriously at your internship is about making a good first impression. And like it or not, that begins with your outfit. Learn the company’s policy on business professional/business casual and make sure you adhere to it when you walk into the office. Also pay attention to how your coworkers dress, which will help you figure out what’s considered acceptable.
Share Your Ideas
As an intern, you’re probably entering an unfamiliar environment without a lot of experience within the industry. But that doesn’t mean your well-researched ideas won’t be welcomed. If you find a different way to do things that could benefit the company or have a suggestion that might help your supervisor/coworkers, don’t be afraid to share. Even if your idea doesn’t get implemented, you’ll demonstrate that you’re committed to your internship and truly care about the company.
Set Personal Goals
Before your internship begins, make a list of a few specific goals you’d like to accomplish during your time as an intern such as learning a new skill or finding a mentor. Even if things don’t end up happening exactly the way you hoped, keeping those goals constantly at the back of your mind will keep you focused and make the experience more rewarding overall.
By Priscilla Aceves